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Celtics’ Isaiah Thomas: Days since sister died hardest of my life

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BOSTON (AP) — Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas says the days since his younger sister was killed in a car crash have been the hardest of his life. He’s also expressing thanks for the support he has received around the NBA.

Thomas’ comments, released in a team statement Wednesday, are his first public ones since 22-year-old Chyna Thomas died in a crash early Saturday outside of Tacoma, Washington. The All-Star guard says the pain he is feeling “is impossible to put into words,” though he expressed gratitude to his fans, the city of Boston, the Celtics organization and the NBA community.

Thomas played in the first two games of the Celtics’ first-round playoff series with the Bulls, then flew to Washington to be with his family on Wednesday. No funeral plans have been announced.

He is expected to rejoin the team Friday for Game 3 in Chicago.


Kristaps Porzingis says he still wants to be a Knick, “I love New York”

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Kristaps Porzingis is frustrated with how the Knicks are being run and the dysfunction and drama around the team, so much so that he blew off his exit interview with Phil Jackson. This week Porzingis will head back to his native Latvia for the summer, and he will not likely be taking part in the triangle training sessions the coaching staff wants to run this summer.

Don’t confuse all that with him wanting out of New York.

Porzingis spoke to Marc Berman of the New York Post and assured Knicks fans he wants to be in orange and blue.

“Of course,” Porzingis told The Post at his luxury apartment complex in Manhattan, when asked if he wants to be a Knick next year. “I love New York. I love New York.”

Not that he was going anywhere anyway, he’s on his rookie contract, and the Knicks aren’t about to trade him, no matter what he asks.

Porzingis wouldn’t comment in any more depth on his frustrations with the team, saying it was not the right time. As a refresher, here’s what he said speaking to the media a week ago.

“No one’s comfortable with losing,” Porzingis said that day. “If it means going in the right direction and doing the right thing, let’s do that. But just having no idea the direction, then it’s not going to work out. The direction has to be clear what we want to do.”

The direction seems to be the triangle, although the players don’t appear to like it or Kurt Rambis pushing it. Porzingis wasn’t saying much, but staying away for the summer would speak volumes.

Porzingis is the fan favorite, the best player on the Knicks, and a young player trying to assert some authority. He may not be terribly smooth at doing so, but that doesn’t make him wrong — the shifts in direction with the Knicks, and how Jackson has handled the Carmelo Anthony situation have been a mess. The thing is, the Knicks just picked up the option on Jackson for a couple more years, and Porzingis isn’t going anywhere, so the two sides are going to have to come to some kind of an understanding. That or we will just get more of the Knicks being the Knicks like last season.

Mike Conley says Grizzlies players will pay fine for coach Fizdale’s “Take that for data” rant


Grizzlies coach David Fizdale has become a folk hero for his “Take that for data” rant.

He was frustrated after another Grizzlies loss to the Spurs, one where he felt his team did not get the benefit of the doubt from the referees, while Kawhi Leonard and the Spurs did. Fizdale knew he was going to get fined while he was venting — the league came down Wednesday with a $30,000 fine — but at least he got his money’s worth.

The Grizzlies players loved it so much, they will reimburse Fizdale for the fine, said point guard Mike Conley.

Conley can probably swing a large chunk of that after signing the richest contract in NBA history last summer.

The question is what impact will all this have on the officiating, if any? You can bet the crowd in Memphis will be all over the officials, and maybe all this gets them a couple more calls. The thing is, the Spurs are still going to attack, and as a team still know how to draw and play through contact. They will continue to get calls, too.


It sure looks like Marcus Smart flips off fan after missing three (VIDEO)


Marcus Smart will be writing a check to the league for this one.

There was plenty of frustration to go around in the Boston Garden Tuesday night as the Bulls dominated the Celtics on the way to a 2-0 series lead. Fans were booing the Celtics, and Rajon Rondo was overheard saying they quit.

That frustration bubbled over for Smart midway through the fourth quarter, when he missed a three-pointer, then as he backpedaled down the court Smart appears to flip off someone (see the video above). Probably a fan, although it’s impossible to know for sure (although the team benches are on the other side of the court from where he pointed, so who else would it be?). Maybe he will try to argue the gesture was something else, but I know what it looks like to me.

Smart finished with 13 points on 6-of-11 shooting in the loss. He was one of the few Celtics that showed some grit and defensive energy in this game. But that moment of frustration is going to cost him 25 large.

Celtics’ Avery Bradley overheard Rajon Rondo say “Yeah, they gave up”

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Maybe Game 1 could be explained as a fluke, but in Game 2 Tuesday night the Chicago Bulls took it to the Boston Celtics and dominated them. Chicago’s defense was physical and aggressive, they attacked on offense, while the Celtics were predictable on offense and their defense lackluster.

How bad was it? Check out what Celtics’ guard Avery Bradley heard Rajon Rondo say during the fourth quarter, via ESPN.

“I could even hear Rondo, like, ‘Yeah, they gave up. They gave up.’ But you never can let a team see that. You have to continue to be positive and go out there and play hard, no matter what the outcome is.”

Damn. Saying a team quit — that you beat the competitiveness out of them — is about the most damning thing one pro player can say about his opposition.

The thing is, Rondo’s right. This has been about as embarrassing a two games as the Celtics could have had.

There is a lot of frustration around Boston — the Celtics were booed in the Garden during the fourth quarter, and Celtics fans on social media were vicious. This is a good Boston team, but it’s built more for the regular season, and it’s playoff flaws have been laid bare the last two games. The fixes don’t seem as quick now — if you’re Gordon Hayward, you want to leave Utah for this?

Last summer, it seemed Danny Ainge was willing to be patient with this roster and building this team. If they Celtics are unceremoniously bounced in the first round as a No. 1 seed, can he afford to do that again?